Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Brad, 'er, Brian, 'er Brad What's this ChaCha Search Thingy?

Every day I learn about a lot of new things - which is one of the reasons that I love building technology companies - especially a fast-growing mobile search company in ChaCha. In the past week, I learned that Fox has yet another new cable TV channel called Fox Business. I then learned that I was going to be on the Fox Business channel live to talk about ChaCha, which I did yesterday.

While on the show, I learned that my name can actully be used interchangeably with "Brian". I also learned that, with only a few minutes to explain how ChaCha's mobile text answer service 242242 can allow you to get an answer to any question on your mobile phone, it was not worth the effort and time required to tell the host that my name is Brad...

We certainly appreciate the coverage from Fox - I suppose they can call me whatever they want as long as they keep talking about ChaCha!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ChaCha (242242) Mobile Answers via Text Continue to Build Momentum

ChaCha focused tremendous energy on its launch event at the Sundance Film Festival and I am excited to report that the momentum gathered with thousands of festival goers has continued to build post-Festival. I will be sharing more details soon, but thought I would share this story from CNet by Michelle Meyers. We had a great discussion while I was still at the Festival.

Check out the story here.

All is Now Well with ChaCha (242242) on Sprint

I commented recently that we were having issues with Sybase / Sprint properly handling requests for answers from ChaCha (242242) on Sprint phones. I am happy to report the issue has been resolved and all is running properly so Sprint users can consistently receive timely, accurate answers by texting questions to 242242. Thank you for your patience as Sprint and Sybase resolved these issues.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sprint / Sybase Issues with New ChaCha Text Answers Service

Since Friday evening sometime (probably about 5PM ET) Sybase and Sprint have managed to somehow "break" the flow of questions sent to ChaCha (242242) and answers returned to Sprint handsets. Our network ops team at ChaCha have been working through the weekend with Sybase in an attempt to resolve these issues. One of the more perplexing facts is that the service does occasionally work on Sprint but more often than not it fails.

We have a longer term strategy that will put us in more direct control of these situations but right now we are left to the devices of Sybase who is proving to provide lackluster service at best.

Incredible that Sybase, who is the biggest aggregator of text traffic, is this inept with respect to customer support and basic implementations of what is supposed to be their core competency. I don't generally speak out about partners in this manner but at this point the truth needs to be told.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

All Carriers Live and Well on ChaCha Mobile Text Answers

The ChaCha team worked with Sybase to resolve all carrier issues. Now ChaCha's mobile text answers service - 242242 - works perfectly on all major carriers! Please continue to share your best examples with me. The testimonials are rolling in constantly.

242242 ChaCha Text Answers Soar while Sybase Stumbles

ChaCha's text answers trend continued today with another record-breaking day of volume. We continue to optimize systems and processes daily to provide an continuously improving mobile answers product.

Last night, Sybase, the company that aggregates our messages and routes them through the carriers, made what was believed to be a "simple" migration of routing for Sprint, Nextel, and Boost mobile. This occurred late-night and has caused a disconnect somewhere in the communication chain within Sybase's routing process. The net result is that anyone on these carriers are unable to receive answers. It's really incredulous given that Sybase is the largest provider of this type of routing services. We are working with their team diligently to get this issue resolved.

I will post an update as soon as the status of this routing issue changes so all users are able to again access ChaCha's text answers service.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ChaCha's Mobile Text Answers are a Hit at Sundance!

ChaCha's mobile text service (2-4-2-2-4-2 = "ChaCha") is a hit with the crowd at the Sundance Film Festival where it is "The Official Text Answers Service". We have really been blown away by the popularity of the service among all festival goers ranging from teenagers gawking at celebrities to the celebrities themselves. The ChaCha team has regularly been stopped by people on the streets who want to convey just how much they love our new text answers product.

I had the opportunity to be at Sundance from the opening Thursday through Sunday (and will return this Friday for the closing weekend) and experience the buzz that ChaCha has created first-hand. One of the biggest fans of ChaCha that I encountered was Quentin Tarantino. Above he is pictured with me and a group of mutual friends we had made at Sundance in the Stella Artois VIP room. He left wearing a ChaCha Beanie and with a ChaCha eGrip on his phone (Sticker with ChaCha logo that keeps phone from sliding off your dashboard).

All-in-all ChaCha's mobile text answers launch is really going well. Please let me know if you have seen us at Sundance or if you have any feedback regarding the service!

Carriers Pushing Texters to Bundled Plans

Text messaging is quickly becoming one of the most profitable and highest growth offerings for carriers in the US.

Text messaging is booming. Nearly 80% of U.S. 18- to 24-year-olds use text messaging, says research firm In-Stat. Text messaging -- formally SMS, for short message service -- set records in 2007, says the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association trade group.

Along with this explosion comes massive revenue growth.

Portio Research says global text messaging revenue will hit $67 billion in '12 vs. $52.5 billion last year.
Casual text messaging users tend to have rate plans that are pay-per-use while heavy texters are moving to bundled rate plans that offer unlimited text messaging. Mobile services such as ChaCha's text answers are only serving to further accelerate use of text messaging.

Monday, January 7, 2008

ChaCha Debuts Mobile Text (242242) Answers

You might notice that the name of my blog has changed! It is subtle, but what was "Brad Bostic's Human Powered Search Blog" is now "Brad Bostic's Mobile Search and Technology Blog". The reason for the change? We finally launched our first mobile product at ChaCha!

After a year of tirelessly building and optimizing our online community of roughly 30,000 ChaCha Guides (real people with expertise in providing online answers to your specific question) and making real-time answers available online, we announced our new text service on January 3rd. The response has been tremendous!

When you get a chance please text your question to ChaCha at 242242. It's easy - Just create a new text message, enter 242242 as the number you are sending the text to, type your question, and send it off! ChaCha will respond with the answer (usually in a couple minutes but difficulty of question will impact the speed of your response).

I want to know what you are asking and how you like the service! Please give it a try and please POST A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOU ASKED AND HOW IT WENT.

Having ChaCha answers available via text has been absolutely amazing for me. I look forward to hearing how you like it.